The Maritime & Seafood Industry Museum preserves and interprets the maritime history and heritage of Biloxi and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The new 19,580 square foot building replaces the Museum’s previous home that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina’s 30-foot storm surge. It houses exhibits and gallery spaces, meeting rooms, a production shop, administrative areas, and storage.
The main gallery is designed around the 30’sloop Nydia; the use of glass as the primary enclosure of the main gallery creates a “ship in a bottle” effect, letting the Nydia be visible from the exterior especially when dramatically lit at night, to attract visitors to the Museum. Other smaller boats are suspended in a double-height gallery adjacent to the main gallery stair, allowing visitors to view all of the vessels from multiple angles.
The design of the museum incorporates a clapboard pattern on precast concrete panels on the north, west, and south facades, and uses metal fins for sunshading the glass on the east facade. The building’s porch structures, as well as interior wood detailing, make reference to coastal wooden pier structures.
The building is elevated to meet FEMA requirements for constructing within a Coastal A flood plain. In addition to creating a safe environment for artifacts, staff, and visitors, the elevating of the building allows for use of the space under the elevated platform by the Sea and Sail camp and for living exhibits.
The building is enhanced by the development of the adjacent Biloxi Waterfront Park, as it will give visitors the opportunity to enjoy activities within the open air pavilion and playground. Construction of the Museum and the surrounding park will happen concurrently.